FedEx Cup for Dummies 2009 Edition

By Rex HoggardAugust 26, 2009, 4:00 pm

 
Stop me if youve heard this one before: A mathematician, a PGA Tour official and Vijay Singh walk into a New Jersey bar . . .Bada Boom.
 
Welcome to the 2009 edition of FedEx Cup for Dummies. If youve perused this tome before, read on because Version 3.0 of the Tours playoff experiment gets underway on Thursday at Liberty National and will look nothing like the 2008 edition, to say nothing of the 07 inaugural offering which may not even be of the same DNA.
 
Playoff Primer
  • Field sizes were cut for this years post-season: with the top 125 regular-season points earners advancing to this weeks Barclays in New Jersey, followed by the top 100 at next weeks Deutsche Bank Championship and top 70 into the BMW Championship
  • The playoff points reset, which occurred after the regular season in 2007 and 08, will now come after the BMW
  • Points awarded at the first three playoff events will be increased, with the winner earning 2,500 points compared with 500 points to the winner of regular-season Tour events and 600 points for a major championship or Players champion
  • The post-BMW reset will narrow the gap between first- and second-place to 250 points, making it mathematically possible for No. 30 on the reset list to win the FedEx Cup and $10 million bonus. The players in the top 5 entering East Lake, however, will control their own destinies with a victory at the finale
  • Tour officials hope to maintain the same type of volatility that the 2008 playoffs had ' Vijay Singh began the post-season seventh in points while runner-up Camilo Villegas started at No. 42 ' while also assuring a solid regular season is rewarded by delaying the reset until after the BMW
For the third consecutive year the Tour tinkered with decimals and divisors not because something was wrong, but because its what one does when operating without a net or instruction manual.
 
Playoffs ' a misnomer of semantics and perhaps the most glaring problem in the circuits season-long quest ' are, by nature, works in progress. Just ask any baseball traditionalist still lamenting the onset of the wildcard concept or NASCAR fans who eagerly await the annual tweaks to the ever-evolving Race for the Cup.
 
The next four events are no more a playoff, at least in the traditional sense of the word, than Decembers Q-School is a place of higher education. But in the Tours defense, A four-event race to a big payday doesnt have much of a marketing ring to it.
 
Playoff is a hard word because you think that there will be eliminations each week, said Jason Bohn, a member of last years Players Advisory Council and one of many architects of the current plan. But if you dont play well one week, you can have a great tournament the next week and be right back in it. Its FedEx Cup triple elimination.
 
There will be tweaks, but I do like the fact if you play well all year you wont fall out so quickly in the playoffs. If feels like a mini-major.
 
The Tours greatest attribute in the development of a playoff is a willingness to adjust. As dogmatic as Ponte Vedra Beach can be about certain things ' drug testing, player fines, slow play ' the playoffs have become a Petri dish of ideas.
 
The only way to have a good idea is to have many ideas, or so the old saw goes, and the creation of a viable post-season in golf has taken a village.
 
Even Singh, hardly one of the circuits most outspoken or political types, had a take on how the playoffs should be structured when asked on Tuesday.
 
Every week (you) should be back to zero (points), said the 08 cup champion. You just advance. It's a tournament. It's part of the money list. It's part of the Tour still, and every week should be back to zero. A hundred play or 200 play or whatever and you just cut it down to whatever is necessary, and the last day it's a shootout.
 
The evolution of the playoffs has a Goldilocks feel to it, with the initial concept (2007) not having enough volatility and last years post-season having too much movement for some. Whether the 09 edition is just right remains to be seen, but at least they are trying.
 
Field sizes for the four playoff events were trimmed this year to 125 (Barclays), 100 (Deutsche Bank) and 70 (BMW), and the points reset was moved to the week before the Tour Championship to mathematically assure all 30 players at East Lake have a chance at the $10 million pot.
 
Arm-chair mathematicians have already found a possible flaw in the new math, however, noting that Tiger Woods can win the first three playoff events, as outlandish as that sounds, and could somehow still get beaten in the season-long race with a poor showing at East Lake.
 
We wanted the Tour Championship to be something where if you had the No. 1 seed, you sort of had something akin to a home court advantage in NBA basketball. You can lose, but you've got an advantage, commissioner Tim Finchem said on Wednesday. The intervals that we set for that first seed provides you an advantage.
 
By comparison, Singh won the first two post-season events last year and needed to only make four loops around East Lake without tripping over his putter ' a feat, not for nothin as they say in Jersey, he found impossible at Hazeltine National.
 
There will be more tweaks. Golf World magazine reported earlier this month that Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els have lobbied Finchem to cut the playoffs to just three events ' if only the NHL had similar-minded stars we might be spared endless post-season hype and a 15-minute off-season. Normally, when the games biggest names speak with one voice action items follow.
 
There is also a perception problem within the general golf public regarding the Tours infant post-season. The golf calendar has 12 months, four majors, one unforgettable cup (perhaps two, with Octobers Presidents Cup looming) and a healthy supporting cast of events from Dove Mountain to Doral. A shiny silver cup and a steady march of promos dont create big events ' history and actions do.
 
Like The Players, the playoffs may grow into the must-see event the Tour pines for, but our Twitter society will have to come to grips with the reality that it takes more than 140 characters and three experiments to make a memory.
 
Woods has signed on for the playoff opener in New Jersey this week for the first time, a symbolic first step if ever there was one, and the new math of a post-BMW reset will assure that a Braves pennant run and University of Georgia football are not the only hot topics in Atlanta come September.
 
And thats not too shabby, at least until next fall when a host of new tweaks will require the fourth edition of Fedex Cup for Dummies. Buy your advanced copy now, and avoid the rush.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Barclays
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm